Have you ever wondered how safe the medications you take really are? Dr. Bremners book is a scary expose of how far pharmaceutical companies will go to protect their profits and keep you from finding out about the real dangers of the medications they make. His experience as a researcher, psychiatrist and speaker for the pharmaceutical companies has given him an insiders view of how drugs are marketed; as well as how their dangers are minimized and hidden in the name of sales.
Dr. Bremner shares the story of his research into the acne drug Accutane, an almost miraculous treatment for severe acne. He describes Hoffman La Roches attempts to prevent the study, their adamant denials of any possibility that it could cause suicidal depression in some patients, and their desperate efforts to discredit him and his findings.
I was so fascinated (and horrified) once I started reading that I finished the book in a single day. Dr. Bremner shares not only the facts of the story, but the effects that Roches vindictive campaign to suppress his findings and destroy his career had on him personally. His story is a gripping, well-written tale of just how far people will go to protect their profits and avoid taking responsibility for their actions.
His book is open and honest, and provides miniature case studies of some of the patients who died as a result of taking Accutane. For example, this story:
Our son here was prescribed Accutane for his acne, the father
said. It cleared up his acne real good, but after about two months, he changed. He got real withdrawn and stopped doing his homework. Didnt talk at the dinner table. Then things got real strange
Said that Jimmy Hendrix was talking to him in the form of a
monkey, the mother interrupted.
Gave him a specific date when he should kill himself, the father
said. The teenager looked on with a blank expression.
So what did you do? I asked.
We checked him in to a psychiatric hospital the night before the
date he was going to kill himself.
Sounds like a wise move.
Once we got him off the Accutane, he went back to his old self.
Hardly seems worth it just for a few pimples. quoted from The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg by Douglas Bremner
About now I can almost hear you thinking, why should I care about an acne drug? I dont have acne, and the drug is off the market now anyway. The simple answer is that whether you have fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder, MS, IBS or any of a thousand other chronic illnesses; or even if you only get an infection; you and your loved ones take prescription medications. Many of those prescriptions are safe and effective, but some are deadly, and we need to support those doctors and researchers who are willing to stand up and SAY something when a drug is unsafe.
Without doctors who are willing to face ostracism from their peers and attacks by big pharma to expose unethical behavior and hidden side-effects, even more people would die from dangerous medications just to pad the pockets of pharmaceutical executives. We may never know exactly how many died because of Accutane, but estimates run from a low of 300 to a high of 3,000 young people who killed either themselves or others after taking it.
Read more of this review by Kimmie Collas here at the Transform Your Chronic Life blog.